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Volume 2012, Article ID 596846, 11 pages
Review Article

Archaea in Symbioses

1Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Grisebachstraße 8, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2Hannover Medical School, Institute of Functional and Applied Anatomy, Carl-Neuberg-Straße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany
3Courant Centre Geobiology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraße 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

Received 5 September 2012; Accepted 19 November 2012

Academic Editor: Martin Krüger

Copyright © 2012 Christoph Wrede et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the last few years, the analysis of microbial diversity in various habitats greatly increased our knowledge on the kingdom Archaea. At the same time, we became aware of the multiple ways in which Archaea may interact with each other and with organisms of other kingdoms. The large group of euryarchaeal methanogens and their methane oxidizing relatives, in particular, take part in essential steps of the global methane cycle. Both of these processes, which are in reverse to each other, are partially conducted in a symbiotic interaction with different partners, either ciliates and xylophagous animals or sulfate reducing bacteria. Other symbiotic interactions are mostly of unknown ecological significance but depend on highly specific mechanisms. This paper will give an overview on interactions between Archaea and other organisms and will point out the ecological relevance of these symbiotic processes, as long as these have been already recognized.